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Paul Wendkos has directed both paranoid stylistic triumphs and bland programmers. This 1957 noir, his first, has amazing flourishes even if the storytelling sometimes goes slack. With the help of two pals and the stepsister who loves him, a career thief steals a necklace from a wealthy spiritualist, only to be pursued by a crooked cop. Dan Duryea and Jayne Mansfield give uncharacteristically serious performances, but the film's best moments include a stunningly matched cut from a TV newscast to a burglar leaping a wall and the Wellesian newsreel opening and bizarre close—a chase at a carnival that makes the principals seem utterly isolated in space. 90 min.

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